Nergis Mavalvala

Nergis Mavalvala is a Pakistani-American astrophysicist known for her role in the first observation of gravitational waves. She is the Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she is also the Associate Head of the Department of Physics. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2010. Mavalvala is best known for her work on the detection of gravitational waves in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project, but she has also obtained prominent results on other physics problems that evolved out of LIGO: for example, she has performed pioneering experiments on laser cooling of macroscopic objects and in the generation of squeezed quantum states of light.

As a graduate student at MIT, she conducted her doctoral work under Dr. Rainer Weiss, where Mavalvala developed a prototype laser interferometer for detecting gravitational waves. After graduate school, she was a postdoctoral researcher and then a research scientist at the California Institute of Technology, working on the LIGO. Dr. Mavalvala joined the MIT physics faculty in 2002. In 2017 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Mavalvala won the first Lahore Technology Award launched by Information Technology University on December 17, 2017.